May 15, 2022
SUBJECT: Worship Site Confirmed for Holy Apostles Parish (Youngstown); Formal Church Closure of SS. Cyril and Methodius Church of St Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish (Warren)
MORE INFO: Justin Huyck, Coordinator of Media Relations, (330) 744-8451, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown announces two decisions regarding parish church buildings. Both decisions formalize previous parish and diocesan planning. The Most Rev. David. J. Bonnar, Bishop of Youngstown, sent letters to the respective parishes which were read at weekend Masses on May 14 and 15, 2022.
Bishop Bonnar has issued a decree formally closing Warren’s Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, after consulting with the Diocese’s Presbyteral Council in accordance with Church law. The decree to close Ss. Cyril and Methodius formalizes a discernment process and follows an April announcement that Bishop Bonnar had confirmed the recommendation by Father Christopher Cicero, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, of St. James Church as the parish’s worship site. (Please see that announcement at https://doy.org/news-april-24-2022/)
A closing Mass will be celebrated at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church in May. In his letter to parishioners, Bishop Bonnar wrote that, “It is always sad when a church building closes because it holds so many memories. One of my responsibilities as bishop is to ensure that our history is preserved and artifacts are treated with reverence and respect. Accordingly, I have directed our diocesan office of patrimony to catalogue and preserve sacred objects from Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church and work with Father Cicero to determine an appropriate use.” In 2021, Bishop Bonnar established an Office of Patrimony directed by Father David Misbrener, and in 2022 Bishop Bonnar appointed Joan Lawson as diocesan archivist.
Also on May 14 and 15, Bishop Bonnar confirmed that Ss. Peter and Paul Church will serve as the primary worship site for Holy Apostles Parish in Youngstown, and the location for the parish’s one weekend Mass, effective June 1st. Bishop Bonnar confirmed the recommendation of the parish’s pastor, Father Joseph Rudjak, that along with Ss. Peter and Paul Church as the parish’s primary worship site, St. Stephen of Hungary Church will serve as the parish’s secondary worship site. St. Stephen of Hungary will be open for times of prayer, with Mass celebrated twice during the year. Bishop Bonnar also confirmed Father Rudjak’s recommendation for St. Stephen of Hungary’s campus to serve as the parish’s office and pastoral center, offering a gathering place for prayer groups, speakers, and other forms of missionary work.
In his letter to parishioners, Bishop Bonnar wrote, “As your bishop, I affirm this vision for your parish’s two campuses, and ask for your prayers and support so that this vision can be sustained.” Bishop Bonnar thanked parishioners for the ways they have come together as one parish community since the parish was established in 2011. “Your commitment to missionary outreach and service efforts is a sign of God’s love in the Youngstown community. Your service has been nurtured by sharing your ethnic heritages and customs with one another, coming together as one missionary community.”
Throughout the diocese, parishes are adjusting their Mass schedule in light of the imminent reality of fewer priests, with one new priest being ordained this year, and nine priest retirements that are effective July 1, 2022. On April 22, and again on May 7, Bishop Bonnar announced various clergy and personnel assignments that involve collaboration among parishes, with priests serving multiple parishes. They can be found at https://doy.org/clergy-official-april-22-2022/ and https://doy.org/clergy-official-may-7-2022/